Local daredevils test their man-powered machines
SAT 4/24 "He's the strangest dude I ever met," Rodrigo Lima says of teammate Dan Bigalow, whom he plans to push off a giant papier-mâché camel into the waters of Biscayne Bay. The two young men, along with friends Rodrigo Davila and Crystal Lense, are industrial-design students at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and they're entering their camel in the Red Bull Flügtag contest, during which 31 teams will launch human-powered flying machines off a ramp into -- or, hopefully over -- the water at Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Flügtag means "flying day" in German. "We're going to have [Bigalow] ride the camel or maybe ski behind it and then just push it off the ledge," Lima says. Bigalow will go solo, partly because there's a 450-pound weight limit on the machines (rider included) and partly because Lima is president of the Industrial Designers Society of America club at school. "I'm an important man," he says. "I don't wanna get hurt."
Another team of Broward contestants isn't winging it as much as the camel skiing team. Stefan Kageman and his co-workers at Jetscape, a company that leases commercial aircraft, have dubbed their machine "The Resurrector." It incorporates the same technology as the stealth bomber -- like "space-age polymers, adhesives, and a lighter-than-air wing covering," according to Kageman. The project cost the team about $600 and "an untold number of hours of manpower." Although they've tested it in a wind tunnel and expect it to fly 71 feet (which would break the current American record of 70 feet), their project reflects a sense of humor. Kageman, the team's pilot, will be "brought up to the craft in a coffin, like a funeral procession. We'll have a Red Bull toast, and they'll send me off into the wild blue yonder." If it crashes in the bay ("We prefer to call it a soft landing," Kageman says), how will he escape? "Depends if we land inverted or upri ght. But very desperately!"). Check out the Red Bull Flügtag event from 1 to 4 p.m. First craft launches at 1:03 p.m. Visit www.redbullflugtagmiami.com. --Deirdra Funcheon
FRI 4/23 On one corner of the Kuumba stage, Mambo King Cuba Pete twirls his partner in a hip-swinging swirl of satin. On another, award-winning dub poet Malachi Smith gyrates his body, index fingers wildly pointing, as he raps quietly during a few minutes of practice. Elsewhere, publishers and booksellers straighten their book-laden booths; the Maco Jumbi, stilt walkers from the Virgin Islands, cautiously test their balance; and 2003 Grammy nominees Plena Libre toot their horns in tentative harmony. This is what it should look like just before 10 a.m., when the 2004 Pan African Bookfest begins. The all-day family event, which takes place at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and adjacent Delevoe Park (2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), explores the commonalities of African-derived literature, music, dance, storytelling, fashion, philosophy, and culture. Well-known authors like Tananarive Due (pictured), former writer for the Miami Herald, who has written books ranging from supernatural thrillers to a civil rights memoir, delve into concerns of the African diaspora. And while adults talk, children ages 8 to 14 write and publish their own books in the Literacy Corner. Call 954-357-7348. -- Tomi Curtis
No Fun till 21
A Come Ons comeback?
FRI 4/23 The all-ages punk show happening this Friday at Red Lion British Pub (10114 S. Military Trl., Boynton Beach) originally was booked for Ray's Downtown in West Palm Beach. That was before the party poopers on the West Palm Beach City Commission decided the kids aren't all right (see this week's Earache). But the punk must go on, and it's a good thing too; Rivethead and Off with Their Heads are down from Minnesota, and the Come Ons are back for a reunion after recording a new CD. Sure, this isn't the first time the Come Ons have had a "last show," but does it matter? Not when the ever-prolific Die Stinkin is playing as well, meaning they'll have new material (or some Headcoats covers, at least). What did the Clash say about "all the young punks"? Oh yeah: They'll be at the Red Lion. Show starts at 10 p.m. and is free for 21 and up. Underagers pay $5. But at least they're allowed inside. Call 561-737-0434. -- Jason Budjinski
Something Fishy About It
FRI 4/23 Forget the rods and reels and navigate to the Atlantic Boulevard beach for the ultimate catch Friday through Sunday. Vendors dish out the fish during the 20th Annual Pompano Beach Seafood Festival, which features live music by America, the Grass Roots, the Turtles, and the Classic Rock All Stars. "The whole atmosphere is electric," says Hugh Ganter, co-owner of Seafood World in Lighthouse Point. "The music is phenomenal. There are lots of bathing suits." It takes Ganter a month in his 75-seat restaurant to sell the same number of meals (5,000) he prepares during the weekend-long event. Local performers ensure continuous entertainment, vendors sell arts and crafts, professional sandcastle builders work on the premises, and youngsters participate in a Radio Disney talent competition. Admission costs $7; children under 10 get in free. Call 954-941-2940. -- Michelle Sheldone